User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Celts thrive on new style without Rondo

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

BOSTON (AP) - The outlook was bleak.

Advertisement
Rajon Rondo's season-ending knee injury was certain to hurt the Celtics hopes for a playoff berth. How could Boston possibly survive without its offensive catalyst, the NBA leader in assists and triple-doubles and one of the best rebounding guards in the league?

But not only have the Celtics survived, they've thrived.

They're 6-0 since Rondo tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, including wins over LeBron James and the Miami Heat and Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers. They've adjusted quickly to coach Doc Rivers' new approach now that Rondo isn't controlling the ball, waiting to make a pass or drive to the basket:

Shoot it if you're open, pass it quickly if you're not and spread the court to get more unchallenged looks at the basket.

And they're 4-0 since losing another key player for the season when rookie Jared Sullinger, an outstanding rebounder, underwent back surgery.

``Our guys just think they're good,'' Rivers said after the most lopsided win in the stretch, 116-95 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. ``They didn't ever doubt themselves. Others did, and they should have, really. When you lose guys like Rondo and Sully, I get that. But the guys in the locker room, they like what they are.''

After Rondo's last game, the Celtics held the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, just 2 games ahead of Philadelphia. Thursday's win left them in seventh place with a 26-23 record, 4 1/2 games ahead of the 76ers and 1 1/2 behind the sixth-place Atlanta Hawks.

``We're not going to make excuses, who's out there, who's not out there,'' Paul Pierce said after scoring 24 points against the Lakers. ``We've got a lot of talent in this (locker) room. The rest of the teams are going to take it how they're going to take it. We're fine with flying under the radar (with) no expectations and everybody doesn't expect anything of us, but we're going to keep moving along like we're moving and trying to get better.''

In their six games since losing Rondo, the Celtics have outscored opponents by an average of 102.8-92.8 and hit 49.1 percent of their shots.

Before his injury, they were outscored 96.4-95.0 and made only 45.7 percent of their shots.

But as well as the Celtics have played, other factors have contributed to their success.

Of the six wins, five came at home and four were against teams with records of 23-27 or worse. Pau Gasol of the Lakers and Chris Paul of the Clippers missed the games against the Celtics with injuries. On Sunday, the Denver Nuggets bring an eight-game winning streak into TD Garden.

The Celtics did, of course, beat a healthy Heat team in double overtime, 100-98, to start the streak. And the loss of Rondo has given other players opportunities.

``Rondo does so many different great things for this team, you can kind of get lackadaisical,'' Kevin Garnett said. ``It's very similar to if you have someone cooking for you and you're expecting it every day.

``And, all of the sudden, that someone is not there, obviously, to do that, and it's up to you to feed yourself. And, all of the sudden, you start making these gourmet dishes and then you have some more people over to the house, more people eating. You never know you possessed that, unless you lost that person who was cooking. It's kind of like that.''

Without Rondo, the Celtics have tossed in an extra dash of guards Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa, forward Jeff Green and center Chris Wilcox. And another, Avery Bradley, has been one of the NBA's top defensive guards after missing the first 30 games while recovering from surgery on both shoulders.

``Everybody's relaxed out there and we're just having fun moving the ball around,'' Bradley said. ``Everybody's relaxed out there and we're just having fun moving the ball around. It's simple basketball. We almost feel like we're playing summer ball. Everybody's just passing it. If you don't have anything, pass it. That's just how we play and it's hard to beat a team like that.''

Rivers didn't have much choice. He knew he had to pick up the offensive pace.

``I like our vibe and our spirit and we're playing selfless and free,'' he said. ``We're not, honestly, good enough ballhandlers to play halfcourt. We just can't. We can't get stuck in that because we don't have one guy that is good enough with the ball to be able to orchestrate our offense.''

The defense also has been outstanding.

``You make (the opponent) use 20 seconds every time down defensively and, even if your offense goes stale, you can still win the game,'' Rivers said.

Even without Rondo.

``Everybody's touching the ball and playing with a lot of confidence,'' said Garnett, who became the 16th player in NBA history to score 25,000 points on Thursday. ``We are playing together on both ends and that's important right now.''

There was a temporary slipup in Wednesday night's 99-95 win at Toronto when the Celtics slowed the pace and trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter.

``You could hear them talking about it throughout the game. `This is not us. This is not us,''' Rivers said, ``and then when we finally got the pace, you could hear them, `This is who we are.' ``

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Edwards: Friday's Tip Sheet
Sportsbook: Friday's Top Action
News: 2nd Round Series Odds
News: 2016 Playoff Results
Raptors beat Heat in OT to tie East semis
Pacers seeking new voice on the bench
Stephen Curry unlikely to play Game 3
Damian Lillard gets tested by Warriors
Wizards' Wall undergoes knee surgery
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NBA Pro Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NBA Hot Streaks
6-0 L6 G-Plays, 8-1 L9 Picks
18-8 Playoffs, 16-5 L21 G-Plays
8-1 L9 G-Plays, +1,717 Picks TY
7-2 L7 Days, 18-9 L27 Guarantees
8-1 L9, 11-2 L13 NBA Selections
20-9 L9 Days, 7-2 L9 Guarantees
7-2 L9 G-Plays, 12-5 L17 Picks
15-8 L23 Picks, +2,314 This Year
4-0 L4 Guarantees, 5-1 L6 Picks
11-6 L17 G-Plays, +2,161 Overall
4-0 L4 G-Plays, 12-5 L5 Days
+1,787 Net Profits This Year
3-0 L3 Picks, 6-2 L8 G-Plays
6-1 L7 Picks, 8-2 L10 Totals
29-14 Last 43 G-Plays
5-2 Last 7 Playoff Picks
7-2 L9 Guarantees, 5-1 L6 Picks
NBA Pro Basketball Expert Sports Picks- San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder
2015 NBA SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Paul Bovi + 2314
Greg Smith + 2161
Chip Chirimbes + 1787
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
The Gold Sheet + 680
Antony Dinero + 530
Bruce Marshall + 527
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Greg Smith 58 %
Paul Bovi 57 %
Stephen Nover 55 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 1518
Paul Bovi + 1169
Jimmy Boyd + 919
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 2971
Paul Bovi + 889
NeiltheGreek + 591
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 2755
Paul Bovi + 1160
The Gold Sheet + 1131
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership